I made a book for a young friend. It describes one of our recent adventures: a circular run we completed together, before lockdown. Here are some of the pages:
Here is the book under construction. The binding was made from the stiff cardboard from the back of drawing pads, strengthened at the spine with scrim, and covered in brown paper. In the absence of a bookbinding press I used two 12kg weights, and the breadboard. There were 32 useable sides (16 leaves), 4 signatures of 2 sheets and 1 signature of 1 sheet. The paper is Khadi smooth watercolour paper.
I have been gifted some old music scores, hardback, which, by a happy coincidence, are exactly the same size as Sketchbook No. 7.
And I have watercolour paper in sheets.
So I looked carefully at the construction of the score, and used a combination of “coptic binding” and an improvised sewing method incorporating ribbons, to sew the watercolour sheets together. Then I removed the music from the score, and put in the watercolour paper. Here are some pictures, click to enlarge:
The size of the sketchbook is about 10inches by 7inches. The paper is Arches Aquarelle, 300gsm with a slight rough surface called “cold-pressed” or “NOT”. I used PVA glue, which may or may not have the required durability. Time will tell.
The covers are the Novello and Company Limited edition of J.S. Bach Mass in B Minor, written in around 1737. This edition was published in 1908, containing edits by Mr Otto Goldschmidt in 1908, and Arthur Sullivan for the Leeds Festival in 1886. Mr Sullivan writes, in the “Editorial Notes”:
“The few marks of expression used in this edition were inserted by me for the performance of the Mass at the Leeds Festival of 1886. I have employed them very sparingly, so that the breadth and grandeur of the work might not be impaired. They are indications of degrees of force, rather than of expression. In every case I have been guided by the character of the music or by the meaning of the words.” Arthur Sullivan, October 1886
I found out more about this Arthur Sullivan. He is the Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan, the duo who wrote many comic operettas, still performed today: HMS Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Mikado, to name but three. Sullivan wrote the music and Gilbert wrote the words.
As well as these operettas, Sullivan was a prolific composer of serious music. He wrote the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” and the anthem “By the Waters of Babylon”, which he composed when he was 8. He wrote incidental music for Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, which was “a sensation”. I wonder if it is still around. This Leeds Festival, for which he annotated the score of the Bach Mass, was clearly a big event. Wikipedia tells me:
In 1886 Sullivan composed his second and last large-scale choral work of the decade. It was a cantata for the Leeds Festival, The Golden Legend, based on Longfellow’s poem of the same name. Apart from the comic operas, this proved to be Sullivan’s best received full-length work. It was given hundreds of performances during his lifetime, and at one point he declared a moratorium on its presentation, fearing that it would become over-exposed. Only Handel’s Messiah was performed more often in Britain in the 1880s and 1890s. It remained in the repertory until about the 1920s, but since then it has seldom been performed; it received its first professional recording in 2001.
I made a story book for a young friend. It describes an evening we spent together back in December. Here are some of the illustrations:
I made the illustrations by cutting shapes out of the coloured parts of magazines. Magazine pages are suitably strong and luxuriously glossy. Sometimes the pictures have textures which are helpful to the theme. The figures are about an inch high or less. It was very fiddly.
I decided to give the book a hard cover. Out there in the wild, it would need some protection. I’d not done a hard cover binding before. I examined several hardback books and had a go. Here are some pictures of the construction process:
It worked well! It remains to be seen how it fares. It’s out there now, being read and enjoyed by one of the characters in the story.